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Full text of "A history of Persia"

39o                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
"Keiariian Headpiece."    He also girded on the sacred
sword of the Safavis at Ardebil.
The Reduction of Khorasan, A.H. 1210 (1796).—-
Strengthened in prestige by his coronation, the Shah
determined to subdue Khorasan. He marched by way
of Astrabad, which he beautified with buildings that still
remain, and after punishing the Turkoman directed his
march on Meshed. No resistance was even contemplated,
the petty chiefs mentioned above proffered their allegiance
one by one, and Nadir Mirza fled to Afghanistan, leaving
his blind parent to the tender mercies of his hereditary
enemy.
The main objects of Aga Mohamed were to seize
Khorasan and to strengthen it against the Uzbegs. In
addition, he coveted the splendid jewels which he knew
that Shah Rukh possessed and had concealed from every
one. The wretched man, now over sixty years of age,
swore solemnly that he had nothing of the kind, but his
oaths were disregarded and torture was applied by the
pitiless Kajar. Day by day, under the influence of the
agony inflicted, he revealed the secret hiding-places of
his hoarded wealth. The celebrated ruby of Aurangzeb
was produced only when a circle of paste had been put
upon his head and molten lead poured on to it. Aga
Mohamed, with whom love of jewelry was almost a
mania, was overjoyed at securing this priceless stone.
He gave orders for the tortures to cease ; but they had
been too much for the descendant of Nadir Shah, who
died soon afterwards from their effects.
The Russian Invasion, A.H. 1210 (1796).—In connexion
with the struggle for power between Aga Mohamed and
his half-brothers, reference has already been made to
Murtaza Kuli Khan, who after his defeat fled to Russia.
There he was well treated, and it was apparently intended
to utilize him for the furtherance of Russian ambitions.
Catherine was undoubtedly chagrined by her failure to
succour Georgia in accordance with the treaty, and
determined to avenge the Persian invasion. In 1796 a
Russian army forty thousand strong compelled the sur-
render of Derbent, Baku and other fortified places, and